Sajitkumar T K Vasudevan, 48, resident of Taman Nusa Indah Johor Bahru lost his job as production executive at Premier Vegetable Oil Pasir Gudang when his management discovered (after he was employed and not during the interview) that he was being treated for depression at the Permai Hospital.
Unable to make regular payments on his housing loan, he is now hounded by the bank and faces legal action for defaulting on his loan.
In 2010, Sajit had taken a RM 195,000 housing loan from Ambank.
The following year, Sajit was given to key to the street when his company discovered he was suffering from depression and had not truthfully declared his depressive condition when he applied for that job.
His application for SOCSO insurance was rejected.
His appeal to The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) turned to naught.
Earlier in 2007, he had withdrawn RM 30,000 from his EPF savings due to his sickness.
This time when he applied to withdraw his savings, it was rejected.
This is due the fact that Hospital Permai declared him not ill (tidak mengidap keilatan).
Sajit’s troubles escalated last year when he was unable to service the loan for four months.
As a result, the interest rate for his loan was increased from 4.9% to 9.1 %.
When Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) contacted AmBank, Liaison and Collection officer Hamidah Abd Rahman explained that the bank had clear rules about loan defaulters.
After four months of non-servicing of the loan, legal action would be instituted.
Sajit had appealed for leniency but the bank was unwavering.
By hook or by crook, he had to settle the outstanding loan and thereafter, service his loan for six months without fail before the bank could consider his case.
In his jobless state, he is unable to find RM 3,000 per month to service the loan.
Hamidah advised Sajit and all those in the same dilemma to seek the assistance of AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit), the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency set up by Bank Negara which helps individuals manage their financial situation.
Sajit feels the society is pushing him against the wall. “People who are depressed are in a very unfortunate position because the public do not understand their complex illness.
“A seriously depressed person can be driven to suicide.
“They need encouragement and support,” he said.
In addition, without financial assistance forthcoming, he may be driven to seeking for ”help” from Ah Longs and this could be the long, lonely road to his destruction.
The World Health Organisation warns that mental illness will be second to HIV/AIDS in the burden it places on the world by the end of this decade.
Records indicate that 9% of Malaysians suffer from major depression. Similar to global data, depression is the fourth most disabling disease in Malaysia, ranking third for women and 10th for men.
Sajitkumar is now at the end of his tether. In anguish, he laments, “There is no justice in this world.”